HOUSTON — The NCAA Tournament Final 4 games tip off on Saturday, first between the San Diego State Aztecs and Florida Atlantic Owls, followed by the Miami Hurricanes and UConn Huskies.
A victory for UConn would be their fifth in the last 25 years, while a victory for any of the other teams would represent their first title ever.
In fact, over the last four Final 4's, we have not had a single repeat team. And while every Blue Blood program has been in a Final 4 in that timeframe, except Kentucky, it is notable that there is so much parity in the game right now - with a new crop of teams competing for a title every season.
Locked on Sports Today host Peter Bukowski brought Isaac Schade from the Locked on College Basketball podcast onto the program to talk about the rising parity in college hoops and what it means for the sport going forward.
"People are finding places to play," Schade said. "If you can play basketball, you're going to find a place. There are more great basketball players out there, there are more guys willing to play together, more great coaches. Everything is rising up. And here's the truth about the NCAA Tournament....on any given day, somebody can get hot and you're going home if that's the case."
SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Sports Today podcast, bringing you expert conversations on the biggest stories in sports, every morning, in under 30 minutes.
This year's Final 4 is particularly surprising, with zero one, two, or three seeds participating. The group of players features zero McDonald's All-Americans, two mid-major programs, and only one program (UConn) that has ever won a title.
The NCAA transfer portal, as well as an extra year of eligibility for student-athletes from the COVID season, has created a situation where thousands of players are looking for a new home - creating more balanced rosters across all of college basketball and making the NCAA Tournament even more unpredictable than ever before.
How long this will sustain remains to be seen, and depends on whether the NCAA will crack down on transfer portal movement or instill more rules and regulations around NIL - which could shift power back to richer programs.
For now, college basketball fans can enjoy a wild Final 4 this season, with three more games until the offseason takes effect on April 4.